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History Brought to Life
on 4 October 2008
Elizabeth Chadwick's superb new novel, The Time of Singing, details the life of Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk during the time of Henry II and his sons. Chadwick's ability to bring history to life is never more apparent than it is in this illustrious depiction of the political and human world of medieval England.
Bigod, who was a companion of William Marshal, the subject of two of Chadwick's earlier novels, is first found as a young man who defies his father's rebellion and must come to terms with the type of man he will be. Bigod must constantly walk a narrow path in order to receive what is rightfully his, and the family drama of fighting for the inheritance follows him throughout his life. Interwoven in Roger's story is that of his wife, Ida, who was once the reluctant mistress of Henry II, and whose love and support provide Bigod with the stability he didn't experience early on in life. Chadwick expertly weaves fact into fiction as we see how Roger and Ida overcome the obstacles of the turbulent times in which they lived.
Once again, Elizabeth Chadwick has given us an outstanding glimpse into the lives of actual people who lived so long ago. The writing is engrossing and the plot is well paced. I could easily envision all the characters and events, and as usual, I was sad to let go of my medieval friends when I closed the last page. Storytelling at its finest! Highly, highly recommended.